samedi, octobre 14, 2006


When Michael Jackson sang "Leave Me Alone," a song about how hard it is to be a millionaire freak show, he was adding a voice of warning to his face of warning. But the eternal principles and consequences he was elucidating, and to which only he cannot fall victim, went unheeded. Except by me--irrelevant because I don't have a career to kill.
Hence, when the new Dixie Chicks new album came out, it sent chills down my spine to notice the undeniable fact that the singer looked like a blonde Michael Jackson . Not the scary one of today, the relatively normal looking one from the Thriller video. She has the same eye make up, and is apparently wearing the same prosthetics. Mostly it was just creepy and I feared she may be lurking in the dark recesses of my basement. But there was more to it than that--much more.

It was more proof that the charismatic controversial Chicks from Dixie are on their way out. The first sign a band is finished is when they start singing about what it's like to be a rock star. How hard it is to be on the road. Or how their ideas need to be taken seriously. ETC. It killed Journey. It finished the Squirrel Nut Zippers. It almost put Kid Rock out to pasture. It kills Morrissey repeatedly, but he valiantly rises from his own ashes and remembers that a music icon singing about his career as a music icon is a short, dead-end alley. (Rappers are exempt because from the off all they ever talk about is how great they are anyway. In fact, as they exception that proves the rule, you might have noticed how they fade away when they stop talkin' 'bout all they bling, and how all the suckah MC's go runnin' when they on the mic.)
I don't have a problem with the Chicks personally, or even politically. (They are less than irrelevant on both counts, so why bother considering, much less objecting?) I'm not saying they SHOULD go away. And I'm definitely not saying that I yearn for the halcyon days when their borderline intelligence, sub-teenage take on vigilante justice lit up the airwaves with country cross-over frenzy. Maybe Earl did have to die. It isn't for me to say. This is about sympathy for three girls who, without pseudo-country music, would be neither pretty enough nor smart enough to make their way in this big crazy world. Someone should have told them: "Don't release that song about how tough it has been to be you. Don't let the sun set on your short career! Stick to dishing out Stevie Nicks' table scraps! Or go back to singing about Earl before your career has to die!"
But nobody told them. And now, as if to confirm the prophecy of doom, on the very cover of their CD, the singer looks like Michael Jackson in the Thriller video. Nobody who resembles Jacko in any way can be long for this world. The dark voodoo technology required to keep him and his career alive cannot be replicated.

Nothing can save them now. But perhaps their chapter in the chronicles of fading limelight will serve to warn the next generation of (vaguely) talented, cross-over(trailor) trash (talking) dissidents.

lundi, octobre 02, 2006

This Thing(s) I Believe

Kenny Rogers is taking over the world.

This has been stewing for some time, and, though I know at this point that I am risking my very life, silence is no longer an option.

It started years ago. I was in Quebec. (Please, please say "Kay-Bec"). I was a busy young man. I had a lot of responsibility, and almost no free time. Then one day, whilst delivering meals to the elderly (seriously) I spotted a strange restaurant looking place in the bizarre middle ground between the historic part of the city and the outlying slums: Chez Kenny. I wish I could show you a photo. The sign out front bore his likeness. Some of the letters may have been written in Western Style rope. The "C" was definitely a sidewise horse shoe. Innocently, I gasped with delight and insisted that my associate park the car and take my picture standing beneath the sign. He took my camera and crossed the street, smiling like a young man sharing a great joke.

Just as he was saying "One more for luck!" a man who was equal parts squat and stern came out and gave me the stare down. I didn't know what to say. As my brain tried to formulate how to express comic enthusiasm for the establishment, he said the French Canadian equivalent of "What in the hell are you doing?" His tone seemed intended to instill fear. It worked. The word for "fan" left my brain, and I almost said "I love Kenny Rogers!" But gushing didn't seem right. So I went default and began to say I was from out of town. He cut me off.

"Get the Hell out of Here," he said, his verbage ensuring me that he was streetwise, serious, and dedicated to stomping out the scourge of people with affected metropolitain university French. My associate across the street had instinctively hidden the camera and was already warming up the car. All I could muster was "Sorry. Goodbye" as I tried not to run. I don't know why I wanted to run, except for a gut level feeling that he was going to shoot me, coupled with a fear that at that stage I didn't even know the word for gun.

All the way back to the appartment, (as I have periodically in the years since) I wondered what it all meant. What could a business of any kind with a name like Chez Kenny, have to hide? And if it was a business, what did they have to gain by frightening off potential customers? It actually used to make me laugh. "Kenny Rogers has some seriously serious fans up there in Quebec" I would tell my friends.

But it began to usettle me. I began to catalogue in my head the unlikely career path of a man whose greatest apparent talent is beard husbandry, catapulted to stardome by the unthinkable premise that a hit song should be the basis of a TV movie of the week. I remember my parents gushing about the "combined stage presence of Kenny and Dolly" upon returning from a concert that was part of a national tour that sprang from the blandest top 40 duet in history. I pictured him and Lionel Ritchie seated at a piano, Kenny nodding and saying: "Let us officially invent the cross over hit." I began to suspect there had to be some ulterior purpose. Some nefarious sub-plot. Then I heard about his freakish plastic surgery. (They pulled his face so tight, his beard now grows BEHIND HIS EARS). I saw him hosting shows about the old west on the history channel. Finally, I stumbled across the unbridled horror of ""

I don't begrudge anyone fame and fortune. This is the land of opportunity. If Tom Cruise can stare his way to 20 million per picture, then we have to accept that anything can happen. But this is something else entirely. You people have to pull your heads out and realize that the human race as we know it is about to be tested. Sooner than later the mysterious chain of "establishments" will be closed for "repurposing." Not long after, those few Americans who never recieved the hypnotic implant from any of his songs or TV apearances will be forced into submission by the nocturnal machinations of an unholy army of KennyKlones.

And all people will serve The Gambler.

And he will hold, then fold us all in the bladed wings of his dominion. And darkness, and the black age of Kenny will hold illimitable influence over all.

And just before your consciousness is absorbed, you will remember for a brief moment that you were warned. And you didn't listen.